UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) – The Seattle Storm have struggled early in the WNBA season without stars Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson.
Seattle found a way to get past that on Sunday.
Camille Little had 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists and Seattle beat the Connecticut Sun 78-66.
Tina Thompson had 17 points for the Storm (2-3) while Tanisha Wright added 13 points and five rebounds.
Allison Hightower had 17 points and five rebounds for Connecticut (2-5). Tina Charles added 15 points and six rebounds and Kara Lawson scored 11 points.
Jackson chose to remain home in Australia this season to rehabilitate a hamstring injury. Bird had surgery for a cyst on her knee on May 9. Both will miss the entire season.
Bird and Jackson have been the cornerstones for Seattle and led it to two WNBA championships.
“Our mindset is to fight through everything,” Little said. “You can make excuses if you want, but nobody cares if Sue and Lauren aren’t playing. Nobody cares what may-or-may not be going on with our team. We have to believe in ourselves and fight through everything, and tonight we showed that.”
Seattle was tied with Connecticut for ninth in field goal shooting (39.1) entering the game.
The Storm shot 51.4 percent against the Sun.
“It started with our defense,” Little said. “We were intense, more so than we have been in the last couple of games. We were aggressive, and it sparked our offense.”
Connecticut was also short-handed. Reserve guards Renee Montgomery (high left ankle sprain) and Tan White (broken right finger) missed the game. The Sun’s struggles on Sunday had little to do with a lack of players.
“We came out flat,” Charles said. “In the second half we came out flat. Coach (Anne Donovan) gave us a great motivational speech coming out in the beginning and after halftime, but we came out flat. Things weren’t going our way. It’s just really frustrating.”
Seattle led by three points midway through the third quarter, then pulled away with a 10-0 run. Thompson began the run by making the second of two throws. Shekinna Stricklen, Wright and Thompson followed with 3-pointers to give the Storm a 52-39 lead with 4:14 to play.
Stricklen, chosen second by Seattle in the 2012 draft, gave her team a lift by scoring 11 of her 16 points in the first half.
The Storm led for most of the game and ended the first half with an 8-0 run. Tameka Johnson started it with a pull-up jumper, and Little had a layup.
Lawson had a pull-up jumper for the Sun. Little missed a long 3-pointer before the shot clock expired on the Storm’s next possession. She got the offensive rebound, however, leading to Thompson’s 3-pointer.
Wright ended the half with a driving layup as the Storm took a 40-33 lead into halftime.
“We felt like we could be a team like this,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said, “but now it’s just a matter of being consistent and staying this way.”
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